Politics & Democracy

Politics in democracy can be understood many ways, but on one level it is the expression of where people believe their self-interest lies - that is to say, "what is good for me?" Even when voters vote according to primal affinities or fears rather than economic advantage ( as Thomas Frank, in What's the Matter With Kansas?, lamented of poor whites who vote Republican), it is because they've come to define self-interest more in terms of those primal identities than in terms of dollars and cents.

We assert a simple proposition; that fundamental shifts in popular understanding of how the world works necessarily produce fundamental shifts in our conception of self-interest, which in turn necessarily produce fundamental shifts in how we think to order our societies.

Consider for a moment this simple example:

For the overwhelming majority of human history, people looked up into the sky and saw the sun, moon, stars, and planets revolved around the earth. This bedrock assumption based on everyday observation framed our self-conception as a species and our interpretation of everything around us.

Alas, it was completely wrong.

Advances in both observation technology and scientific understanding allowed people to first see, and much later accept, that in fact the earth was not the center of the universe, but rather, a speck in an ever-enlarging and increasingly complex cosmos. We are not the center of the universe.

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